Have you ever seen the show MythBusters? The main idea is to scientifically prove whether or not some popular beliefs, Internet rumors, or other myths are true. Today I’d like to be a myth buster and dispel a very common myth: “Hiring a freelancer is the best solution for your software product.” Freelancers seem to be more flexible and easier to work with, but not everything is what it appears on the surface. In fact, app developing companies often offer the same flexibility and can quickly respond to changes in requirements.
If you really don’t know how to find a good developer, I’d recommend asking yourself these questions first:
- Is my vision of the product crystal clear?
- Is the app too complicated?
- Will the app cost a lot?
- Can I judge the quality of the code by myself?
- Will I require the whole package or just coding?
Is my vision of the product crystal clear?
I call this myth the “I-Can-Do-All-Things Man.”
If you can—high five. However, everyone should first ask themselves, “Am I smart enough to transform my app’s concept into technical specification?” If you don’t have what it takes, you should hire someone who is able to create it and who can convert your great idea into a written reality. Of course, you may be an idealist and think, “We’ll work together as One Head–Two Eyes to execute and deliver,” but it would be a unique freelancer that could be involved in the conception, design, and development of an app as well as its distribution. No doubt it’s better to hire a software company as this means that you’ll cooperate with multiple mobile development experts: project manager, UI/UX designer, iOS/Android developer, QA engineer, etc. Cooperation with an entire team will save you tons of headaches. Another problem that freelancers have, by nature, is that they code for the present need. But an app development company works in such a way that future changes and updates can be easily implemented. If your freelancer’s code leads to a dead end, don’t be surprised if you need to recreate it from scratch the next time you need an update.
Is the app too complicated?
I call that “Simple Data is Confused Data.”
Let’s say that you’re planning to build the app with complex functionality and already know how to hire someone to make an app. There are many talented developers on both
- Time zones: Different time zones can be a curse if there is no overlap or if you need to be up in the middle of the night for meetings and calls.
- Cultural work ethic: Some freelancers can have problems with the Internet, non-stop family issues, or numerous national holidays that repeatedly derail a project, and you can end up with very poor productivity and a late end-product.
IT Outsourcing: Success Factors
Will the app cost much?
I call this myth “Get Everything—Pay Nothing.”
Do not try to find a freelancer based on a price quote alone. You need a great product, not the cheapest product. Of course, you can find brilliant developers just about anywhere. The problem is that smart, skilled developers (no matter which country they live in) are in high demand. So when people see the rates of skilled, senior developers in other countries, they just say, “I don’t want to pay that much.” You can easily hire someone at a lower cost from “A Country-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.” If you have a strict budget, this works with app building companies too. A company may plan your budget and then spend it with maximum efficiency. Mobile development experts will recommend the most appropriate solutions and technologies to you, which can be implemented in a first app’s version (1 Phase), so no matter what, you will receive a reliable software product that will meet your budget expectations. A freelancer would rather be a specialist in one area of service, as was mentioned above.
Can I judge the code by myself (who will test the code)?
I call this myth “It works fine on MY computer.”
One and the same person cannot be both a developer and a tester. Each developer is a great optimist and never sees the error in his or her own work. Of course, if this person isn’t a Chuck Norris—“Chuck Norris writes code…that optimizes itself.”
Another problem is the ability to make changes and improvements after the code is written. Let’s say that your app requires iPad support. The thing is some features can be displayed on an iPhone just in one screen. But if we take any iPad, the same option can be displayed in two screens. This means that both the developer and the designer should update current iPhone logic (programming updates) and transitions between screens (UI design updates). Additionally, the designer should fix resolution for iPad versions as well as other issues. I’m sure it makes a great deal of sense to deliver these tasks to an app development company instead of a freelancer. With a freelancer, you will be forced to solve the issue on your own—how to hire an app developer, QA engineer, UI designer, etc.
Will I require the whole package or just coding (Beta-Testing – Re-Engineering – Distribution – Monetization)?
Basically, app building companies distribute apps to the store for no charge and give a warranty upon release. This could be really helpful since, in the case of a warranty issue, the application will be fixed and re-uploaded to the app store for free.
Don’t think about how to hire someone to make an app. Instead, keep thinking about what software company will build your app. Just match all of the song titles below:
- “Smells Like Software Spirit” by Nirvana
- “Computer God” by Black Sabbath
- “Fix Your Bug” by Coldplay
- “What a Wonderful App” by Louis Armstrong
And I hope you’ll never sing:
“Write me some code, you’re a computer man
Write me some code tonight
I expect you’ll be thinking of suicide
If your program’s not running tonight.”
I’m quite sure that you can say, “I know how to hire an app developer,” and “I know that freelancers are a better choice and companies are worse.” For sure, if you have an advanced level of tech knowledge and are able to control all the processes and workflow, hiring a freelancer can be an acceptable option. But you still should be really careful. In spite of your strong faith in yourself and your tech and management skills, it will be a challenging task. Controlling the workflow is like riding a bike—except that the bike is on fire, you’re on fire, everything is on fire, and you’re in hell.
Nevertheless, most outsourcing companies use the Agile strategy. And don’t tell me that Agile doesn’t work and never did. I do believe that you can agree that an app is something that needs an Agile approach. Generally, you will have less control over a freelancer than a team that does everything in house. Having a small team of experts that solely focuses on your project or developing your software makes the work faster, and this translates that you can launch it immediately to production. They are extremely efficient.
This table will help you to visualize the pros and cons of freelancers and IT firms:
Full-cycle development with conception, design, development, and distribution
It is impossible for one person to do all of this; the product’s quality will not be appropriate
The ability to deliver uninterrupted and comprehensive work on your project
One person is unable to work on your project without any interruptions, including vacations, family circumstances, etc.
One person will cost you less.
Adequate use of your budget and the corresponding quality of the product
It is really difficult to get higher quality for a lower price.
Post-development services: testing, fixing, updating, re- engineering, distribution, and monetization
You will have to bring additional specialists to the work if you use a freelancer, which will affect the budget and the quality of the product.
Unfortunately, there are always some risks involved. Before entering into a contract with a software company, make sure that you make a thorough study of the company profile on
Good luck with your project!